Bits & Bytes: Rock the Community; ‘Food for Thought: Dinner with Dar Williams;’ Buddy Walk of the Berkshires; Mike Thornton & Gruppo Mondo at the Egremont Barn

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By Monday, Sep 25 Life In the Berkshires  1 Comment
Studio Route 7
Bard College at Simon's Rock's dean of students Susan Lyon, left, and Simon’s Rock students volunteer with Adopt A Highway to clean up along Route 7 in Great Barrington during the fifth annual Rock the Community day of service in 2016.

Simon’s Rock volunteers to perform community-wide services

Great Barrington — On Friday, Sept. 29, Bard College at Simon’s Rock will hold its sixth annual Rock the Community: A Day of Service in Honor of Emily Fisher, celebrating the leadership of former board of overseers chair Fisher. More than 100 students, faculty and staff will volunteer over 400 combined hours of service to community projects. Volunteers will travel to sites in and around Great Barrington to perform a variety of services, from trail maintenance to technology help for seniors and reading to toddlers. Organizing all of the programs under a single umbrella reinforces the importance of community service and helps introduce new students to the area they will call home for the next few years.

Rock the Community volunteer sites will include:
9 a.m.–1 p.m. – Flying Cloud Institute
9:30 a.m.–1 p.m. – Berkshire Natural Resources Council’s Thomas and Palmer Brook property
11 a.m.–noon and 2:30–4 p.m. – Mason Library
10 a.m.–1 p.m. – #DearYoungPeople postcards
10:30 a.m.–1 p.m. – Housatonic Riverwalk with Greenagers
11 a.m.–1:30 p.m. – Berkshire South Regional Community Center
12:30–4:30 p.m. – Mass Audubon
1:30–3 p.m. – Adopt A Highway
1–4 p.m. – Letter writing to members of the military
1:30–4:30 p.m. – the Nature Conservancy, Jug End State Reservation


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‘Dinner with Dar Williams’ at Hancock Shaker Village

Dar Williams. Photo courtesy Hancock Shaker Village

Pittsfield — On Friday, Sept. 30, at 6 p.m., Hancock Shaker Village will present “Food for Thought: Dinner with Dar Williams.”

Singer-songwriter Williams’ just-released book “What I Found in a Thousand Towns: A Traveling Musician’s Guide to Rebuilding America’s Communities One Coffee Shop, Dog Run, and Open-Mike Night at a Time” synthesizes what she has seen and heard to provide specific, practical suggestions about how struggling towns can seek improvements. The book stresses the importance of connecting residents of all races and backgrounds to pool their enthusiasms and skills for the good of all concerned.

A folk musician and composer based in New York’s Hudson Valley who has sold millions of albums and toured across the country, Williams is also an environmentalist and social justice advocate. With nine full-length albums of original material to her name, Williams is a frequent performer at festivals and has toured with Mary Chapin Carpenter, Ani DiFranco, the Nields, Shawn Colvin and Joan Baez. Often armed with only a guitar and a smile, Williams charms crowds with her music, story-telling skills, song anecdotes and witty banter.

Tickets are $125. The event includes a seasonal barbecue sourced from HSV’s organic gardens as well as wine and a copy of the book. Williams will perform a few songs after dinner. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact HSV at (413) 443-0188 or


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Down Syndrome Family Group to hold Buddy Walk of the Berkshires

Dalton — On Saturday, Sept. 30, Berkshire County Arc’s Down Syndrome Family Group will hold the 11th annual Buddy Walk of the Berkshires at Craneville Elementary School. The event will begin with registration at 10 a.m. and the walk will follow at 11 a.m. Walkers will return to the school following the walk for a family barbecue, raffle, live music and other activities. Registration is free. All proceeds from the walk will help to provide services and support for children, adults and families of people with Down syndrome living in Berkshire County. For more information or to register, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact Chris at (413) 464-7262 x11 or


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Mike Thornton and Gruppo Mondo to perform at the Egremont Barn

Mike Thornton. Photo: André Chung

South Egremont — Mike Thornton, the actor and singer who plays presidents from Bush to Trump with the Capitol Steps, will record an album of jazz standards with Berkshires-based jazz quartet Gruppo Mondo before a live audience on Thursday, Sept. 28, at 7 p.m. at the Barn at the Egremont Village Inn.

Thornton met the musicians of Gruppo Mondo two summers ago during a Capitol Steps’ summer residency at Cranwell Spa & Golf Resort in Lenox and Thornton decided that he wanted to record material for his upcoming jazz standards album with the group at a venue located in the Berkshires.

Now based in Washington, D.C., Thornton attended the Hartt School at the University of Hartford where he studied voice and theater. Before joining the Capitol Steps in 1995, Thornton appeared in several off-Broadway productions, the American premiere of “Blood Brothers” and the Kennedy Center production of “Shear Madness” in Washington, D.C. His jazz quartet has performed in major New York City venues and his jazz collective performs regularly in Washington, D.C.

For more information contact the Egremont Barn at (413) 528-9580.


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  1. Amanda says:

    One correction the the Simon’s Rock Volunteer schedule: Volunteers will be at Mason Library for toddler story time from 11-12 and Tech Time from 2:30-4pm. (Not 10-12 and 2-4 as posted).

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